"Can I say something?" Jesse St. James interrupts at precisely the right moment to preserve what little is left of my tattered sanity. "When someone dies, yes, it's a tragedy," he notes, "but it's also part of life, and you can't let death put your life on hold." Another point to Mr. St. James. "Now I don't mean to be blunt," he continues, of course intending to be as blunt as possible, "but I don't think you should be planning a funeral the same week you should be focusing on a set list for Nationals." Yet another point to Mr. St. James. Kurt and Finn, however, disagree with me, and gift Jesse with a matching set of stink-eyes. "You're serious?" I'm pretty sure Finn howls. "Actually," Jesse calmly replies, "yes, I am." And then he lets them have it: "Do you know what Vocal Adrenaline is doing right now? They're in their third week of twenty-four-hour-a-day rehearsals -- they're on an I.V. drip, that's how hard they're working. Do you know what happens when someone in Vocal Adrenaline dies during a number? They use him as a prop. Like Weekend At Bernie's." And I'll be ignoring the tonal whiplash that little speech represents as far as this evening's presentation is concerned to snicker and wish once again that they hire Jonathan Groff on to this show permanently. Unfortunately, Finn and his boring ass take this as their cue to reassert their dominance in the general Glee Club hierarchy, and they vow on behalf of the other children present to go through with Jean Sylvester's funeral, no matter what. Jesse St. James sighs. I'm right there with you, my friend. Commercial.
Hall. Will chases down Sue, who most reluctantly turns to face him, because Will is a gigantically over-earnest touchy-feely hippie-weirdo pill. He states how honored the Glee Club is to be handling Jean's arrangements. Sue ripostes that she only agreed on the condition that Frankenteen and "Lady Trousers" clean out Jean's room at The Home. "I like the idea of using your Glee Club as unpaid labor," Sue notes. There's more sop from Will that Sue just barely tolerates before she dons her sunglasses and spins off down the hall.
Auditorium, where Will and Jesse St. James have set themselves up at a table midway up the first tier of seats for the impending auditions. Will admits he's not entirely convinced that forcing various of the children to audition for the Nationals lead is the best idea, because he doesn't want any of the children "to feel like they're losers." "But that's a crucial part of the process," Jesse St. James counters. "You see," he eagerly explains, all bright eyes and enviable posture and such, "I took a class at UCLA in Judging For Reality TV Shows, so I'm totally ready to give feedback that's both blistering and unhelpful!" "It was a really good class," he cheerily adds. "I learned a lot!" With that, he calls for the first "contestant," and it's Santana Lopez, there to perform Amy Winehouse's "Back To Black," with Tinkles, the ever-mute McKinley Jazz Ensemble, and a couple of strings backing her up. Jesse immediately starts scribbling on his legal pad while Santana takes control of the stage, and while her vocal quality isn't as -- how shall I put this? -- sulfurous as Miss Winehouse's, that's likely because Santana hasn't spent the last five years of her life with a crack pipe stuck to her lips. You know, for example. Still, Santana's version is smoking hot, so my deep and abiding crush for her emerges from this experience not only intact, but perhaps enhanced.